I don’t like Konjiki no Word Master.
Actually, I hate it. I think it’s shit. I’m going to vent because I’ve been holding back these feelings of hatred for the last three and a half years that I’ve worked on it, and I want to finally burn the bridge that connects me and Word Master.
I began to hate it around Chapter 7 or so when Hiiro got his first companions. Arnold was kinda cool, and I wasn’t amused when Hiiro (and the story) tried to turn him into the comic relief dude. Muir was an annoying idolizing shit whenever Hiiro was involved (otherwise she was cute I guess). Even though Wi’s technically not better in this regard, I liked her a lot more because I found her personality to be much more entertaining.
Of course, the worst offender is Hiiro himself. Hiiro’s interactions with other people are one of the worst parts of the manga for me, which is why I felt the urge to make him sound uptight and robotic to make him more amusing somehow; the WN TL had him curse quite a bit for some reason. I guess the translator thought arrogant speech = cursing? Not really sure, but I didn’t like it much. I think Hiiro’s pretty cool when he’s by himself and when he’s fighting and thinking. I liked that despite that he’s a loner and shit, he clearly enjoys fighting monsters a lot. Not very compelling reasons, but it was a lot better than the schlock I had to deal with later. When he’s interacting, he somehow manages to be boring and obnoxious at the same time. His habit of never addressing people by their names and using nicknames gets on my nerves too. That supposed to be cool or something? That’s another thing, actually. I’m pretty sure the author (and I think, most of the fans of this manga) legitimately think that the stuff Hiiro does is actually cool and admirable and whatnot. The characters certainly do. The characters are way too easily impressed by whatever Hiiro does and says. This is what I hate most about this manga: that the story is trying to sell this uncharismatic, boring protagonist as this “cool” and “different” and “refreshing” guy that deserves to be respected, and I just can’t buy it.
And then there’s the actual story. I think it started off okay, even if Hiiro’s attitude was still shitty. But now, the world seems to be clinging to Hiiro’s existence as the hero the world needs (but the one I really don’t want). There’s all of the bullshit involving THE BRIDGE. It was such a simple plan. Why couldn’t Eveam have thought of it herself? (I heard she did in the WN, but I haven’t read it, so I can’t confirm.) It was really stupid.
And now for my opinions on the arcs I spent this week translating. The first character Hiiro runs into is the butler (VERY conveniently for the story). His quirks aside, I think he’s pretty cool. I don’t like him as much as Arnold, but he’s far from the worst character. I actually had quite a bit of fun translating his lines. His semi-serious conversations with Hiiro are good too. Shamoe’s just a moeblob. Maybe she does something cool later, but I don’t really care since her first impressions were terrible. Lilyn’s pretty weird. She’s smart and all, but this makes her interactions with Hiiro really bad. From the very beginning, she finds Hiiro very interesting somehow and thinks his quirks are so strange and unique. She’s completely sold on Hiiro’s character, basically, which really sours her character for me, and her abusive and crybaby loli antics didn’t win me over either. Not much else to say about this arc.
The Asurakin arc so far has been a really mixed bag. Not a lot of noteworthy stuff happens until Hiiro’s dumb fight with Kamyu (Camus from the WN TL. It’s French, but I put it as Kamyu because all the other demonkin have weird random names). The fight itself had decent stuff but overall it was pretty bad. Hiiro’s victory was kinda clever but Lilyn’s sideline-explaining was extremely annoying. I know it’s common in WN/LN fights, but I still hate it. The worst thing about it was after the fight. Hiiro gives his dumb “be like me” spiel and Kamyu is quite literally BLUSHING in admiration, like most of the fans, maybe. This was the last straw for me, and I took my nap depressed after reading it raw.
I realized that this manga is just not going to get any better. Maybe more interesting arcs will happen later, but I really don’t feel like waiting any longer. I’ve already had to wait for three years. To be honest, the manga never really got good after Wi’s arc, which was easily my favorite part of the manga, mainly because Hiiro was sort of treated as a secondary character, with Arnold and Wi (my favorite characters) and Muir being more prominent. After that, none of the arcs are ever as good and some have shockingly bad moments (the Golden Mode asspull being the absolute worst).
Honestly, this whole thing is really stupid. I’m stupid for translating a manga I hate. The only reason I translated this manga is because I was blinded by the fact that the co-founder Zephyrial liked the manga and that our new scanlation website was getting lots of fans and thank-yous and donations. But as I grew to hate this manga more and more, I was realizing that none of that was worth it. This is ultimately the reason why I put this manga off for five months. I completely dreaded the idea of getting back to work on it, especially when I got to work on manga that I actually really like (Beastars, D-Frag, and Watashi no Shounen to name a few). Sure, it only took me a week to catch up, but it was a really annoying and painful week for me. I had originally planned to work on the next three chapters and then hold off for another month. As for why I decided to catch up to the latest chapter, it all started when I saw Shurim’s translation of Word Master.
I was initially pretty excited to see that some dude who probably likes this manga was working on it. I saw the first page of the chapter he translated and saw that he was a Patreon guy too, so I had pretty high expectations as far as the translation quality went. And then I read some more. There were several things that annoyed me about his scanlation. There were no periods after sentences, untranslated special moves, the colored page wasn’t even translated. But what really drove me to get ahead of this guy was this one particularly embarrassing mistranslation.
For the record, the Japanese sentence uses the word 怖気づく which means “to be seized with fear”. So how the hell did he get “fallen for my charms”? Whatever the reason, this mistranslation drove me crazy, so I decided that I shouldn’t allow this guy to catch up to the latest chapter before me. Seeing “high quality scanlations” in his first page and then seeing this mistake, I just got really pissed off. So, looking back, my reasons for catching up were initially out of self-validation and petty resentment. I’ve mostly forgotten about that after finishing the latest chapter, though. I don’t feel that this manga is really worth it, and I feel dumb for putting so much effort into catching up while maintaining good quality. So the only thing I really care about for these chapters is if I made a mistake somewhere. I triple-checked these chapters, so I’d feel pretty crushed if I made any mistakes, but if I did, then please tell me right away so I can feel worse than I already do.
Also, as a side note about translators using Patreon, at first I just really hated the idea that someone could get over $400 a month just for scanlating manga, but ultimately I’m just uncomfortable with the idea of getting easy money from profiting off of translating other people’s work. This is just a hobby, after all. I take it really seriously, but I have a lot of fun doing it, so it’s still just a hobby. Translating manga that I love is really fun, simply put, and I get really excited when other people get to read manga that I love. I really don’t need money. It only costs about $12 a year to pay for this website’s server, and I pretty much always use my own money to buy raws, but 90% of the time I can just find the raws online. I really don’t need donations at all. I made a donation page a very long time ago, but I never got to use it because we never needed donations. Maybe some $2 donations every couple of months would be nice, but I would prefer it if people discuss and share the manga I translate instead. Or just say thanks. Or $2. Or nothing at all. Reading it is enough. Whichever is easiest for you.
Again, the only reason I was pissed at Shurim was because of his translation errors, not because he translated the chapters without my permission. It’s not like I own this manga. On top of that, I hadn’t released a chapter in over five months. It really can’t be considered a snipe. Shurim definitely was a factor for me dropping this, though. The way I see it, this is a win for everyone. My team gets to drop this manga, and fans can still expect future translations from Shurim. I really do hope he can translate more chapters later. Maybe he could even get more patrons or something.
I want to end this post with news regarding another one of my projects. Past week was Konjiki week. Now this week is Watashi no Shounen week. Please look forward to it.